Helping my son become an emotionally healthy adult
Raising my son, I want him to become healthy mentally and emotionally. I don’t know how much of that is in my control as my parents were great, but I have depression, anxiety, and low confidence. I will try my best to support Quen in becoming a well-rounded person with emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is important as it is linked to general intelligence, success in adulthood, as well as better relationships and mental health.
How I aim to create emotionally healthy adult:
Make him feel loved and cherished. That he has a good strong base to lean on if he ever needs. Be present and listening when he speaks so that he doesn’t feel ignored. Not letting outside factors dictate how you act when you are home such as a bad day at work, leave that at work. Making time where you are completely attentive. Not on your phone or back and forth with housework. Or even have them help with housework and make a game of it. Have a house with fun, laughter and create happy memories together.
Be a good role model. This can be shown by being open and honest. Showing you trying new things and not giving up even when you fail. This shows that its okay to make mistakes and struggling to achieve what you want is a part of life. Learning to persist even when it is hard creates success. Being okay with the emotions we feel, showing them appropriately, giving them a name and not always hiding them. Showing healthy ways to express them and how you process them in a beneficial way can help them discuss their feelings in the future, as you are not a robot. Showing that you don’t know everything, if they ask a question that you don’t know the answer to, look it up together. Learning is a lifelong journey.
Be an open book for them to come talk. This can mean not getting angry about mistakes to allow open communication without worrying about prosecution. Help them work though problems and emotions together, so they can learn from mistakes which will help them emotionally in the future as they have confidence to problem solve. Ask questions so they can come up with the answer. This creates strong problem-solving techniques. Acknowledge, validated, and name feelings, help them work through understanding and accepting the feeling while also creating healthy coping strategies. Believe it or not feelings and emotions are normal, and it can be hard for the best of us to understand.
Be a good listener, be aware of the signs that something isn’t right. This may not be verbal but physical signs. Sometimes it can just be a tantrum both other times there can be a real issue behind it. During the overwhelming emotion they cannot work through the problem. So first help them calm down, maybe a hug can help them feel secure. Then discuss what is wrong, find a solution or a compromise. Allow expression of emotions but teach them the appropriate ways to express them. They are learning that they cannot have everything they want or the way they want, but this can take time. Maybe trouble at school or struggling with a personal issue. If they come to you with a problem, it may not seem big to you but to them it can be all consuming and they want help. Work together with a solution or if it’s a bigger issue talk to them what you think you should do and get their approval that they are happy with that. Try not to bulldoze with problem solving like most mothers want to, if you can, involve them in the solution. Being heard when they don’t like something don’t make them do it if it is something they must do try and different approach later.
Teach them to be happy with what they have and not jealous or envious of what others have. This can be all consuming when you are older as you are never happy and always envious. Show how we work towards what we really want and aren’t just given things. That the most important things in life are family, friends, and experiences.
Teach them to be a caring human. Including empathy by discussing the results of their actions towards other people and trying to have them understand other people’s perspectives. Discussing other people’s feelings, emotions, situations, and backgrounds are different and to be more understanding to those who are less fortunate. Creating respect for others and themselves, good morals, and most importantly honesty.
Safety. Always being there as his security so he can go and explore and test his own boundaries while knowing he can come back to me whenever he is unsure. Not being smacked, redirecting, correcting, or discussing bad behaviour, I don’t know about you but yelling at me or hitting me really doesn’t make me want to do what you want or listen to you.
Confidence. Allow him to explore and learn his own abilities. Encourage him to try new skills and keep trying even if he isn’t the best at it. Be supportive and show up to sports or activities. As much as we like to, try not take over when they are struggling with a new skill. Give them time even though it may make the task you are trying to complete take twice as long.
This is all a very perfect world scenario, and it can become very frustrating to stay calm and discuss feelings when they have pushed your buttons for hours. Always step away and give yourself a minute to breath if you need. Everything doesn’t need to be dealt with straight away.
Some of this may sound a little airy fairy but the fact is I want to nurture my child to be a good person when he grows up, a key part of that is showing by example. And hopefully if all this works it will be easier when he becomes a teenage who doesn’t wants to speak to me, but hopefully he will have the confidence to come to me if he ever needs.